Have you ever had a huge corporate client and delved deep inside the organization only to find incompetence around you? I have, and it makes me wonder how we've become the richest nation in the world. It's also encouraging, because the bar is set very low and therefore it's pretty darn easy to be an expert!
One thing I get asked a lot is this: "What is an expert?" There are many ways to define that, but here's how I think about it. I picture myself keynoting a conference. In the auditorium are 3,000 people. After my presentation, I open it up to questions from the audience. There's a microphone on a stand in the center aisle, and soon a line forms with people who want me to elaborate or they want to disagree with me.
Picture yourself in that place. How do you feel? Prepared? Nervous? Naked? Eager? Being an expert is flat knowing that you can answer any question about the narrow field you serve. By the way, you don't need to be some amazing speaker or a strong extrovert to captivate an audience. Essentially, it boils down to two things: do you know what the hell you're talking about, and are you presenting it with a personal authenticity.
So the next question is how you get to that place where you think of yourself as an expert, and where markeplace acceptance confirms that belief. Here are my seven specific, practical suggestions:Read More
One of the most significant marketing blunders that marketing agencies make is deciding who they want to marry after they fall in love with someone. In other words, they bend the criteria for what makes a qualified client, either because their sales techniques are weak or because they find themselves with far less opportunity than capacity. No part of the marketing mix is exempt, either: you find it with internet marketing services, public relations firms, marketing agencies, and design firms.Read More
Burnout is widely felt in marketing field. So much so that every individual will face it at some point in his/her career.
Some of it stems from a propensity toward short attention spans, developed at an early age. Oddly enough, if you didn’t have access to a TV or hours of video games, you might be more creative now! (So much for the impact of your profession.)Read More
Caring too much about something can put you at a distinct disadvantage.
Car salespeople know this when they detect even the slightest interest or sense any desperation on your part. Savvy negotiators sniff out this weakness when working their magic at the final hour. Kids know this when they look up at you and ask for something you wouldn’t normally allow but hope that they can tug at your heart strings with that special look.Read More
Ever return to a reunion and been frustrated when former classmates are surprised at your success? It may be human nature to pigeonhole each other, and since (most) clients are human, they have a natural tendency to make assumptions about your abilities that will be tough to change.
Smaller ships turn quicker, and your capabilities are likely to expand more rapidly than client needs will evolve. You are a smaller firm than your client, and are likely adding capabilities very quickly. That’s another way of saying that clients may have you in a rut.Read More
We all define the ideal client in many ways, but essentially it boils down to two things: the ideal client relationship is one in which you make money and have an appreciable impact on your client. Sure, you want to enjoy the relationship, you want referrals, you want prompt payment, you want to work with a decision maker, and a dozen other things. But those two things are the really important ones: money and impact.
We talk about money in various other position papers—here I want to talk about impact.Read More
I’m not sure who penned the maxim that “the customer is always right,” but that statement really is too much of a generalization. And lately I’ve seen way too many creative firms caring too much about what their customers think.Read More
The reason marketing firms fail is not creativity, location, or the marketplace. It’s management ability. Your firm is a direct reflection of you, and you must take responsibility for it. Here are the most common dozen mistakes we see marketing firms make. If you are managing a firm now, you’ll identify immediately. If you are an employee, this might give you some context for the decisions you may not agree with. If you are considering starting a company, this will help you learn from the mistakes of others.Read More
While running your firm looks a lot like the reverse peeling of an onion, building layer after layer, at some point you need to quit building on the past and start constructing an entirely new firm. That process of cutting ties with the past is essential…and terrifying. It’s what happens when a child moves out, a bird gets kicked out of a nest, or a student pilot takes off on that first solo flight. It’s probably more likely that you’d associate moments of terror with starting your firm, but it actually requires far more courage to move beyond that initial founding.Read More
The heady days of automatic success are long gone, and since late 2001, marketing firms we run across have achieved success the old fashioned way: they’ve earned it. I would even argue that the leanness many firms have experienced has been good for them.
Why, you say? Sometimes it’s only the inevitability of your situation that provides the courage to make those tough choices. When you later look back on the decisions you are making now, you might realize that this period was a watershed that set you on a path of great prosperity. The vast majority of our clients have found that to be the case.Read More